How to Pick the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Prattville AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and analyze each one. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be part of your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Prattville AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Prattville AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Prattville AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Prattville AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Prattville AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Prattville AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Prattville AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Prattville AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Prattville Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Prattville Alabama.